December 31, 2008

2008 - The Best of The Best

I have managed to read 73 books in total this year - I'm pretty happy with that but admit I would like to do even more reading in 2009 if possible. I find I am having less and less time to read so I will have to look into that!
When going through my list to find my best reads of 2008 I was keeping note of quite a few books but I am going to be brutal and just list my top five reads of this year.

1. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
This book just simply blew my mind when I read it early in the year - I raved about it to everyone I met. In some ways such a simple premise (having 'death' as the narrator of the story) but the setting, characters and storyline combine to make this book incredible and moving. I rarely cry when reading books but this one had me sobbing. That's not to say it is all doom, gloom and tragedy - there is a lot of hope written throughout this story. Easily my best read of 2008.

2. Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri
When I read this book in August I claimed that I had found a new favourite author and I'm going to stand by that claim now. I was not a short story reader at all before discovering Lahiri's work but I sure am now. These stories are so simple and yet amazing at the same time. If you haven't read this one I suggest you do!

3. A Room With A View - E.M. Forster
I read this book for the Classics Challenge (which I unfortunately didn't finish in time but that's another story!). I had seen movie versions of the book before but this was my first time actually reading the story - and I absolutely loved it. I am an E.M. Forster convert now and am currently reading Howards End.

4. The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb
It had been a long wait for a new Wally Lamb book so, the truth be told, I was probably going to have this on my list no matter what it was like! Having said that though, this book was an epic, fantastic read.

5. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
The book that brought me back to the crime genre - an area I hadn't really read in since my high school days. Kate Atkinson's writing is so absorbing - I found myself not being able to put this one down until I had reached the end - and then I just wanted more!

So, there it is - my top 5 reads of 2008. I keep looking over my list and seeing so many wonderful books that have missed out - maybe I should have done a top 10...


Anonymous said...

I can relate to having your reading time (ie free time) dwindle. Unfortunately, life gets in the way!

The only book I've not read on your list is the Lamb one. As I wholeheartedly agree with you about the others, I will have to try him.

I'll be interested in your thoughts on Howard's End too.

Karen said...

Hi adevotedreader - I would definitely recommend Wally Lamb, I think one of his other books, I Know This Much Is True is probably better than the latest one though.
I'm really loving Howards End so far.

Marg said...

The Book Thief is right up there as one of my favourite books, and I do enjoy the Jackson Brodie books from Kate Atkinson.

nutmeg said...

73 books is what I aspire to - I was a bit disappointed myself with my 62. Like you, I always want to have read more :-)

I read the Zusak book last year and loved it and you have reminded me about A Room With a View. I think I put Forster's Howard's End in my top ten last year.

I have purchased the Lamb - a bit of a book for a long plane ride you think?

And I am in a bit of quandary about the Atkinson as I have read the first in this series but remember pretty much nothing about it - do I reread it or just move on to the second and third books - I can't decide?

And you know I would like to see your next 5 picks - I would like to know your top 20!

Eva said...

I'm reading Howard's End right now after reading Room With a View for the first time this year too!! I'm actually enjoying it even more. :D

Karen said...

Hi Marg - they are all great books aren't they? I'm hoping a new Markus Zusak book will be out soon??
Hi Nutmeg - Finding that time (without guilt!) to read can be hard. I think the Wally Lamb will be great for a long plan ride - I found myself being totally absorbed by it and not being able to put it down so it should be perfect.
With the Atkinson's - I think you could move onto the 2nd and 3rd books with no probs - I'm sure things would come back to you. But at the same time, lots of things are really set out in regards to the Jackson Brodie character in that first book so it might be an idea to have a quick look through it before moving on.
If I was going to choose my next tops 5 from 2008 I would have to put in The Spare Room - Helen Garner, Atonement - Ian McEwan, The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger, Careless - Deborah Robertson and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer. Too many good books this year!!
Hi Eva - I'm reading Howards End right now too! And loving it so far.

valentina said...

I was raving about The book thief to everybody too and I sobbed at the end as well!
I really need to read Jhumpa Lahiri, everyone seems enthusiastic about her writing!

Danielle said...

I couldn't keep my list down to five, but you chose five good ones! I loved A Room with a View, too--must reread it soon. Happy New Year!

Tara said...

Hello! I followed you here from Nutmeg's place. I also have The Book Thief at the top of my list and am a big fan of the Jackson Brodie series. It's nice to 'meet' you!

Karen said...

Hi Valentina - I would definitely recommend reading Lahiri - just a wonderful storyteller.

Hi Danielle - Happy new year to you too! I know, I'm not really sure why I limited my list to just 5. I think I will do what many others did this year and break books down into categories etc... so that I can list more!

Hi Tara - really nice to meet you and see you over at my blog! I will come and visit you.